Looking Back, Looking Ahead

October is typically when the end-of-season conversations begin with “We suffered the worst drought since…” or “Too much rain flooded our field of…” or “Our sunflowers were just about perfect when…” . Thankfully, this seems to be one of those rare years that some natural disaster or extreme weather conditions didn’t adversely affect ASCFG members.

How was your flower-growing season? What will you do differently next year? Did you grow a new crop for the first time, or take an old variety out of your rotation? Maybe you started selling at a new market, or are considering moving into floral design. This issue is full of changes that ASCFG members are making.

President Frank Arnosky, if not a born-and-bred Texan, certainly an honorary native, is now also growing peonies in northern Minnesota—just a short 1,411 miles up Interstate 35. Southeast Regional Director Tanis Clifton will make changes to her farm next year based on her extensive note-taking throughout the growing season. Paula Rice, West and Northwest Regional Director, is taking the big step of adding floral design to her already extensive flower farm responsibilities.

Maybe your changes will be based on other articles in this edition.

Steve Bogash’s article on the taxation of high tunnels was written for Pennsylvania producers, but the information he provides is valuable for all growers. If you’re considering building or modifying your farm structures, you can use these details as a basis for your own research and budgeting.

Most ASCFG members grow lilies. Bill Miller explains their major postharvest problems, and offers solutions to make sure your lilies will be top sellers for your markets.

A recent string of conversations on the ASCFG Bulletin Board brought in some lively comments about harvest speed. It ranged from suggested processes to lessen the chances of developing carpal tunnel syndrome, to the pros and cons of bunching in the field versus bunching in the packing house, and rice sickles versus Felco pruners. Touched on only tangentially was the concept of delegating at least some harvest duties to employees.

“The Fine ‘Whines’ of Delegating” may lead some of you to loosen your grip, not only on your rice sickles and Felcos, but on the idea that only you can perform certain tasks on your farm.

Another life change many of you are already aware of: Dave Dowling is no longer a cut flower grower, but a flower bulb seller. As the Board’s Industry Liaison, Dave will author a column with insight and useful information from the vantage point of a supplier.

Wherever and however you farm, I hope your year has been free of major trauma. But I also hope you won’t be lulled into thinking you’ve got everything figured out. What I love about our members is how you never stop learning, constantly look for ways to improve, and are always willing to share what you know.